#The1LLife: How to Make Move-in-Day a Success

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GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way,
1L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Oh move day, don’t we all cherish the day when we get to battle traffic in an oversized cube that we call a U-Haul, fill our quota for yearly weight lifting by unpacking said cube, and then best of all, spend days shuffling through the clutter that we call our belongings?

While I can’t literally lighten your load, I can give you some tips for how to make your move to law school as seamless as can be.

Step One. Order Your Vehicle

If you’re local, and have a larger vehicle, you may squeeze by with multiple trips back and forth to unpack your belongings; if you’re like me and travelling out of state, you’ll have to go the moving truck route.

  • First and foremost, book your rental early. I for one looked at truck rentals early, then put it off until the prices had nearly tripled and I was very limited in my selection of size, pickup location, and brand – thank you mom for finding and booking the truck while I had an anxiety attack in the corner.
  • Second, know your options. Different companies have different perks, U-haul has smaller truck sizes with limited included mileage while Budget has unlimited miles – on that note, know how many miles you’ll need because trust me when I say 40 cents per mile adds up quick.
  • Third, do not leave moving until the week of orientation. Unlike undergrad orientation which is a fun, two events a day, sort of thing; law school orientation is mandatory, it is (at least in my case) an 8-5 conference, and it is tiring … plus you have school work to do before the first day of class.

Step Two. Start Packing

Packing is the bane of my existence, every time I do it I question how in the world I’ve accumulated so much, excuse my language, crap. BUT because I hate packing so much I have developed a fairly cohesive packing methodology.

  • To save you a trip to the packing supply store, use clothing and towels to wrap breakable items in.
  • Utilize your local grocery store for boxes, personally I find the egg boxes to be the best because they’re a medium size so it prevents you from cramming them so full that you can’t lift them in the end.
  • Sharpies are your friends. By this I mean label your boxes – say where they’re going so you don’t get stuck opening 12 boxes of clothes before you finally find your dishes.
  • Pack an overnight bag. When I arrived, I was so tired I just wanted to crash immediately so I was beyond happy that I had a duffle bag with fresh sheets for my mattress, oatmeal for a quick snack, PJ’s, my bathroom supplies, and a towel.

Step Three. Know Your Route

A quick shout out to my father for doing all the work here. Apparently mapping your route involves more than just a Google Map search … I know it was a surprise to me too. Through my father I’ve learned that while Google Maps plots out the ‘quickest routes’ it does not consider that you are driving a moving truck, therefore it will try to take you through downtown NYC at rush hour and through toll bridges that due to height restrictions, you are not allowed to pass through. Furthermore, Google Maps does not consider when the best time to leave is, for that you’ll need to look at traffic times in the cities you’ll be driving through.

Step Four. Be Prepared on the Day of

The day has arrived, you’ve scheduled your moving vehicle, your Uber is on the way to take you to the pickup location, now you’re finished, right? Wrong.

  • I learned really quick that rental companies do not do the work for you – you’ll need to have your confirmation codes on hand, and you’ll need to buy a lock for the rental truck because they don’t supply one.
  • Also have your GPS on hand when you arrive. Personally, I took an Uber to get my U-Haul, I had climbed into the truck, driven all the way to the end of the parking lot before I realized that I had no idea how to get back to my apartment (thank goodness for iPhone).

Step Five. Unwind

I say this while knowing full well it makes me a hypocrite, but do not stress about moving day. Yes, I personally cried a handful of times, but looking back on it I didn’t need to. Sure, I paid more than I had wanted to for my truck rental, but hey I got a truck that fit all my stuff and got me to my location so it is what it is. Yes, I left moving day to the last minute (because of circumstances beyond my control), but in the end I made it to my apartment, and was unpacked before orientation began thanks to my dad who assisted with all the heavy lifting and furniture assembly

Remember, you have family friends, and potentially a roommate or two, that you can call on to help you drive your rental truck, unload your boxes, and unpack your things. If none of those people are available you should also remember that you are now part of a law school community, meaning there are countless people who will understand your struggle and be willing to lend a hand.

On a final note, remember to thank everyone who helps you, even your parents, because in reality they probably had better things to do. To avoid being a hypocrite yet again, I would like to thank my parents and extended family, for dropping everything to help me get to school, my friends in Boston for helping me get myself on the road, and my wonderful roommate for really just being amazing and having everything under control while I was in my state of panic.

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